3 Career Tips For Graduates

Finishing your study is an exciting time in your life. For many people, it can also be incredibly daunting and stressful, but it doesn’t need to be that way. The team at Blackwattle Careers have seen many graduates across many different industries and occupations make the transition from academic studies to paid employment. Like all things that involve people, some individuals have transitioned better than others. In this article, we share our top 3 tips for graduates who are transitioning into the workforce.

Tip 1 – Listen

Finishing a qualification quite often stimulates feelings of confidence. Sometimes this can lead to over confidence and feelings of invincibility which in a career setting is dangerous. Successful graduates understand their limitations, development areas and actively pursue opportunities to learn from others.

Consistent with this, successful graduates know that there are likely many other people in the organisation who have the same qualification with years and years more experience than them. Successful graduates listen and learn from these people. They ask them for advice and mentoring. They ask them questions like what they would do different if they were commencing their career  knowing what they now know and they use these responses to their advantage.

Successful graduates take time to acknowledge and understand why things are done the way they are done, before launching into recommending changes or blasting through established systems and procedures. Successful graduates put forward recommendations and ideas that acknowledge and respect these reasons.

Listening is more than just hearing sounds and noises, it requires an analysis of what is said, how it is said and body language that then determines how you react or respond to the situation. At Blackwattle Careers we rate listening skills as one of the critical skills a graduate must have regardless of industry or occupation.

Tip 2 – Be Realistic

Setting realistic goals and objectives as a graduate is very important in terms of planning and advancing a career in addition to minimising feelings of disappointment and failure.

So what does being realistic mean for a graduate?

It means being realistic about the types of jobs applied for and ensuring that positions applied for fall within the existing knowledge, skills and abilities of the graduate. There is nothing wrong with being aspirational, but continually applying for roles that fall well above a graduates experience and abilities will more likely than not result in unsuccessful applications and feelings of disappointment.

Being realistic means that graduates place a high value on the benefit of opportunity and the ability it presents them to learn and build skills for the future. This may mean not working in the best job in the best organisation initially, but respecting the value of a start and the opportunity this provides to develop and build relationships.

Being realistic means that a graduates resume reads consistent with the stage of their career. At Blackwattle Careers it is the exception rather than the norm that a graduate would have a resume any more than 2 pages, quite often 1 page is suffice. Graduates should present themselves as they are, not as they think others want them to be as this facade will quickly be broken down, either through an interview process or worse still in the early days of a new role.

Being realistic for a graduate means being patient. In a world whereby we can get answer to almost anything at the click of a button, our careers unfortunately take time to grow and develop. Successful graduates are patient, value the time in a role and organisation and understand clearly how this will benefit them in the future.

Successful graduates appreciate that promotions or opportunities are worked for not demanded. Sustained hard work, achievement and experience lead to rewards.

Successful graduates understand the value many employers place on tenure at organisations – it may seem an old fashion approach, but our experience indicates that many recruiters place value on candidates who are able to demonstrate through their career loyalty and an ability to stick it out. After all, it reads much better than 10 years of 3 month stints at multiple organisations – why would an employer think that their experience will be anything but a short term stint if that is what the career history of the graduate indicates?

Tip 3 – Network

Successful graduates utilise the workplace to build their network and relationships. The future is unpredictable and you never know where you may cross paths with people in the future again.

That receptionist you are currently working with may end up working as the personal assistant for that CEO at that firm you really want to get a job at. How enhanced would your chances be at getting that job if you could tap into that network?

How harmed would your chances be if you destroyed that networking opportunity through either a bad relationship or not putting the time or effort into it?

Understand, value and build your network and it will reward you in the future.